The Record Yellow Perch in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania angler received a phone call from a fishing buddy, which made him realize that he should not cut up the trophy fish he had just caught.

Chuck Main, who is 55 years old and lives in Beaver County, caught a yellow perch on April 7. This fish is similar in size to the current Pennsylvania state record. Main, who was fishing in Presque Isle Bay in Erie, caught a very heavy yellow perch. He really enjoys fishing for bass and knew that people were having good luck catching perch.

He was fishing on his bass boat with his friend, Mike Hobrat. They were using a VMC Moon Eye Jig with a Strike King Rage Tail Swimmer to catch some perch. He quickly caught a big fish, but it got away before he could bring it in.

“My friend said that’s the biggest perch I’ve ever seen,” he said. Later, he caught another fish of similar size and they carefully used a net to catch it and put it in the live well of his boat along with the other fish. “All the fish we caught were pretty big, but not as huge as this one,” he said.

When he arrived home, he realized that the fish was large and decided to weigh it on his scale before cleaning it. Then he realized that it weighed more than 3 pounds. “I’m not sure why I decided to weigh that fish,” he said. “I was really close to attacking him.”

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He thought that the state record was much heavier than his fish, so he didn’t bother to check the state record. He called his friend, Austin Dunlap, who couldn’t join them that day, to inform him about the outing.

“I told you that you should have gone, man. We caught a lot of fish,” he said, mentioning that one of the fish weighed three pounds. The friend told him that he most likely has broken the record for the state.

Instead of cutting the fish into fillets, they decided to look for a bait shop that had a proper scale to weigh it. He called the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and was able to schedule a meeting on Monday with a waterways conservation officer at Reddi Bait in Bridgewater. The final weight was determined to be 3.03 pounds. The object measured a little more than 16 inches in length and had a width of 14 inches. Main said that both the people at the bait shop and the officer were excited about the size of his catch.

The fish is very close to breaking the state record, but it is not quite enough to be considered the new title holder. The current record for the largest yellow perch was set by Kirk Rudzinski of Erie. He caught it while fishing on Lake Erie on April 9, 2021. The fish he caught weighed 2.98 pounds, but the PFBC rounded the weight up to 3 pounds.

Mike Parker, who works as the communications director for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, mentioned that they are unable to provide any information about a particular fish until they receive an application for a state record.

“We know about the fish and an officer was there to look at it,” he said. He mentioned that one of the rules on the application form is that the fish needs to weigh at least two ounces more than the current record in order to be considered for a new record.

Parker explained that the rule requires the new weight to be at least two ounces more than the current record. This is done to ensure there is no room for error. Furthermore, he mentioned that they do not include ties or second place in the list of state records. The only way that could happen is if two fish that broke records were caught simultaneously.

“It’s a strict process, and it’s challenging to accomplish. Because state records are not common, they hold even greater significance,” Parker said.

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